Reporter

Reporter: Revolving-Door Redux

If Rogue’s Island ever had a moral center, by 1994 it appeared to have collapsed entirely. From governor to mayor to judge, public officials rolled off the heights of power into the dustbin of disgrace at factory-production speed. In that year, former Governor Edward DiPrete and his son, Dennis, were indicted on bribery, racketeering, extortion and perjury charges for accepting…

Reporter: A Foundation for Recovery

Steven J. King wheels around Quonset Business Park’s wide boulevards in the corporation’s maroon van, pointing out building expansions in process and the hardtop expanses where Porsches and Volkswagens are unloaded from freighters, to be accessorized before they’re trucked to dealerships across the Northeast. In the place where A1-Skyraider fighter planes once trained to protect the United States from a…

Reporter: Lighting the Way

Cash-strapped Rhode Island cities and towns have resorted to turning out streetlights to save money. A new law allows them to buy their streetlights, but it’s unclear how much they will save.

In 2009, Woonsocket faced a financial crisis. It was $1.25 million in the red and entertaining an 11 percent tax hike to fill it. Among the economies large and small was the decision to shut off half the streetlights on the secondary roads. Out of the array of unattractive cost-cutting measures, flipping some switches seemed one of the easiest, reducing…

Reporter – The Long Road Home

Veterans traumatized by war can find the transition back to civilian life difficult. But leaders are working to improve services and giving veterans who have gotten in trouble a second chance.

Jason Nacci is thirty-one, clear-eyed and determined. In 2000, the Providence native enlisted in the Army. He was nineteen, a high school dropout and adrift. He saw the trajectory of his life, and he didn’t like where it led. Nacci joined the infantry because he wanted to serve his country the best way he could: on the frontlines of battle….

Reporter – A Heady Brew

Rhode Island has relied on a three-tiered system to produce, distribute and sell alcohol. Brewers and wineries want to cut out the middleman, but have met stiff industry opposition.

Exeter farmer Matt Richardson took a sip from a bottle of Sam Adams beading in the July sun and surveyed his hopyard. Ocean State Hops is a modest enterprise: 400 plants on a 200-by-eighty-foot patch climbing twelve-foot trellises in neat rows off Route 2.   Richardson and his brother-in-law, Joel Littlefield, began growing hops in 2007 on a lark. Six…

Reporter – Out of School

Racial profiling in Rhode Island can extend from elementary school to the highway, where blacks and Hispanics are suspended and stopped disproportionately to whites.

The school-to-prison pipeline is shorthand for policies that funnel poor, minority students out of the educational system and into the criminal justice system. The term has gained currency as the pile of reports aligning school suspensions with criminal adjudications tower over public schools.   Four years ago, Ama Donkor, now a Northeastern University sophomore, thought she’d build a channel to…

Reporter – Ruffled Feathers

From town councils to rallies, chickens draw crowds and inspire passions — both pro and con. But does the debate go deeper than fowl?

In the dappled shade of a maple tree, David Turcios, a lanky high school senior, and his instructor, Josh Lantzy, pore over a set of construction plans.   The MET school student’s career goal is a job in construction management, so the DownCity Design project, which takes students through the entire process — from meeting with clients to designing a structure to…

Reporter – Paper, Plastic or Reusable?

Barrington recently banned plastic bags for two years — the first municipality in Rhode Island to do so. But waste experts say paper and reusable bags have their own issues.

It’s early Sunday morning, and Barrington is not yet awake. But Shaw’s supermarket is ready — with classical music piped over the sound system, the smell of freshly baked bread and stacks of paper bags. In January, Barrington became the first Rhode Island town to ban plastic bags at the checkout, under a two-year ordinance that allows the Town Council to evaluate…

Reporter – Collateral Consequences

Criminal convictions can linger long after offenders serve their time. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering several measures to help some re-enter society.

In 2001, social scientist Devah Pager sought to settle a debate about the poor prospects for ex-offenders after release from prison. Was it due to the circumstances that may have bred their crimes? Or was it because they had been incarcerated? She sent applicants into the Milwaukee job market to find out. The testers were twenty-three-year-old male college students who…

Reporter – Firing Away

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering strengthening gun laws further in the wake of the Newtown shootings. But gun rights supporters see it as a governmental power grab.

Francis X. Daly Jr., bespoke in a handmade uniform of a Continental line soldier, thundered on the threshold of the State House.   “Target criminals, not me!” he declaimed to scattered applause.    The sixty-one-year-old part-time accounting and living history teacher from Providence had tried to enter the Rotunda along with about 200 defenders of the Second Amendment for a…